Callan: came for the wargaming, stayed for the drama.

Being borm in 1978 there are quite a few classic shows that other wargamers reference that were before my time.

One of these shows has been Callan. Bob Cordery of Wargames Miscellany (a blog well worth checking out btw) wrote about the show in reference to its old school wargaming charm and suggested that I looked it up.

I watched the episode he suggested and really liked it but not for the wargaming reason he was so fond of. Growing up and cutting my wargaming teeth with GW it featured a style of gaming that has never been part of my past but the story and plot of the show had me hooked. Since then I have been acquiring the series on DVD and have become quite the fan.

Basically Callan (starring Edward Woodward in the eponymous role) is a bitter cynical antihero, a skilled assassin working for British intelligence with a high degree of loathing of the state and its officials as well as himself as killing is the only trade he has seemed any good at. Set comtempoarily in the height of the Cold War it is the complete antithesis of James Bond. Dirty deeds and questionable morals with none to truely trust beats implausible chases and naff one liners in my book everytime.


The show ran for four series after a successful pilot epiode from the late 60s to the early 70s. Sadly alot of the first and second series have been lost, given that this was before the widespread introuduction of home recording they have probably gone for good. After the series finished the pilot episode was refilmed as a full length feature which is  also good; sadly the legacy was soiled somewhat by a TV special in the early 80s. Vrey dissapointed in the way in which the 80’s monstrosity killed off Meres (Callan’s fellow agent and subject of a lot of his ire, tempered by a sense of grudging respect for his abilities) I found his brand of cheery public school psychopathy to my liking.

I think this episode is one of my favourites  as it includes all of the themes that I have mentioned above and is certainly worth your time.






2 comments on “Callan: came for the wargaming, stayed for the drama.

  1. Rupert says:

    Hi Pete, ive got 12 black and white Callans on DVD if you dont have them and want to borrow them.. Rupe

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